As with most blockbuster films arriving in cinemas this summer, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen will be accompanied with a video game release.
However, while many film tie-ins are heavily criticised on their questionable quality, developer Luxoflux is determined to buck the trend by treating the latest Transformers title as exactly that: a stand alone game.
“When we started this game, we knew we wanted to do something that was based on the film, but we didn’t want to make a traditional film game,” says Luxoflux’s creative director Chris Tremmel. “We didn’t want to be held up by the production and development of the film.
So we set up a core game design structure we knew we wanted to go with regardless of the licence. Approaching it in a way that was primarily fun, with multiplayer, a unique feel and an innovative game mechanic really helped us in the beginning.”
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is based the events of the second film, with players taking control of numerous Autobots and Decepticons and battling it out across various locations from around the world. Unlike the film, there is less emphasis on the human characters, giving true Transformers fans the mechanically focused experience they crave.
In order to ensure the game wasn’t too independent from the film – satisfying the movie-goers who are most likely to pick up this title – Tremmel and his team went to great lengths to liaise with their Hollywood counterparts, including the renowned director behind the action flick.
“We met with Michael Bay and his team early on, and they wanted us to expand on the film as opposed to following it,” explains Tremmel. “So this isn’t your traditional movie style game. We’re re-telling the story, but we’re doing it from the Transformers perspective.
“Michael Bay pitched us his film, and we pitched him our game. He then told us what his expectations were, and what he’d like to see, and what they were doing in the film that perhaps wouldn’t translate.
“A lot of it was on the human side of things, because we didn’t want playable humans in the game. Bayfilms have been really supportive.
“We’ve worked a lot with them on sharing assets and reading the latest scripts. We’ve also worked a lot with Hasbro, who have let us do things outside of the film.”
Rather than following the event of the film directly, the game explores them from the perspectives of both the Autobots and the Decepticons. Each mission, either based on key moments from the film or original scenarios designed for the game, can be played from each faction’s point of view, letting fans get to grips with their favourite characters.
In between missions, the Transformers congregate in their team’s war room, where the plot will unfold and the next assigment will be detailed. For this, the developers enlisted the help of the Hollywood talent behind the characters, including Peter Cullen as the iconic voice of Optimus Prime.
“We wanted to go back to the core appeal of the Transformers films, and a lot of it comes from the characters and their interaction with each other,” says Tremmel. “So to do that, we’ve got this war room for the Decepticons and the Autobots, and the conversations that happen here are done by the real voices of the characters and are based on your performance in the game. Which adds for a pretty fun experience.”
The various disguises of the Transformers also lend themselves to different types of gameplay, so not only will players be battling the robots in their normal forms, but they will also be racing along the roads and dogfighting over the clouds.
The developers have even re-designed some of the classic Transformers characters to suit the film’s style, so fans of the toys and classic cartoons are bound to find
a few of their favourites. In fact, keeping the Transformers fanbase happy has been one of the development team’s main motivations.
“We did a lot of market research after the last game,” says Tremmel. “We tested with games fans and Transformers fans to address a lot of the problems with the previous titles. The biggest thing was multiplayer. Fans wanted to go online and fight as Megatron and Optimus Prime.
“It has been a big responsibility for us. The fans of Transformers are rabid. Bay got death threats for putting flames on Opitmus Prime, for example. But we’ve managed to maintain our focus, so we can truly please the Transformers fans. I think we’ve managed to make a fun experience, and the best Transformers game to date.”
The first Transformers film was a smash hit, and the game proved to be just as popular. With Luxoflux taking heed of any criticisms of the original, the second game should turn out to be even better and is guaranteed to perform well at retail.
“Because of our love of Transformers, our relationship with Hasbro, Dreamworks and Bay Films, and based on Activision’s support and dedication to the licence, we have made this not feel like an opportunistic film tie-in game,” Tremmel concludes.